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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        24 January 2011

Seafood processors use energy inefficiently

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Mekong Delta seafood processors, which are leading export industries, use energy inefficiently, according to a new survey.

The survey was conducted in 11 shrimp and 10 tra fish processing factories in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta by International Finance Corporation (IFC), in co-operation with the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

"Our survey revealed that energy policies and human resource training are the two weakest points of these enterprises. All the plants worry about the initial investment but the way they manage energy is below average," said Le Hoang Viet, director of the Energy Conservation Research and Development Centre, that carried out the survey.

The survey organisers said Viet Nam's GDP/energy demand growth proportion was double in comparison with developed countries making energy saving a must to be competitive internationally.

The 21 plants surveyed in Can Tho City and An Giang, Dong Thap, Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Hau Giang provinces, processed 41,000 tonnes of shrimp and 155,000 tonnes of tra fish in 2009. They spent VND212 billion (US$11 million) on energy.

Viet pointed out that all the factories had already set up other management systems, such as International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HCCP), making a good foundation for the seafood processors to set up Energy Management Systems (EMS).

"Plants should apply the principles of reduction, recycling and renewing into managing energy," he said.

Viet advised managers to calculate the factories' energy demands precisely, turn off machines that aren't being used and reduce the use of refrigeration, steam and ice.

"Managers should regularly maintain storage at 18 minus degrees centigrade," Viet added. He said recycling all steam ice, and cold air from refrigeration would help enterprises save a lot of money.

"Biogas should be made from waste treatment and used for generating electricity," Viet said. He said old machines were power wasters and investing more in power efficient machinery would save up to 50 percent of energy costs in the long term.

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